Being back in Canmore, Alberta was quite a surreal experience.
This town where I spent two of my most formative years holds such a big space in my heart it was almost like visiting an old lover that you are still a little in love with.
I had butterflies in my stomach and actually felt a bit nauseous as we drove into town.
The last time I was here was 13 years ago. The town has grown a great deal since then! New condo areas, a massive new recreation centre, many new restaurants and hotels made me feel quite lost at first. But then, all I had to do was look up at those magnificent mountains, get my bearings from the Three Sisters and Lady MacDonald and once again, I knew exactly where I was.
I took the boys on a chilly walk through the streets and we visited the site of my first business (a funky second hand store called 'Shazam!'), the pub I used to work at (The Last Call - and they still had my picture on the wall!!) and the house I first lived in (basement actually - we were on a budget;). We ate bagels at The Rocky Mountain Bagel Company and bought stamps from the corner store. We had dinner at the pub and played ping pong and darts with old friends. We swam in the fancy new pool which was so crowded (due to the outside temperatures I'm guessing) that you had to queue for 10 minutes to get into the hot tub! We got bags of goodies from the whole foods store 'Nutters' which had always been my favourite place to shop, and thankfully was still there.
And we looked in wonder at the mountains which encircle this town like a gathering of wise women around a small child. They are ancient and massive and timeless and so beautiful that several times tears of humility, awe and gratitude formed behind my eyes.
Thank you Canmore for being what you were then, and what you are now.